By Young Scot
Young Scot is working on a three-year National Strategic Partnership with the Scottish Government to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap while minimising stigma felt by young people.
Young Scot are supporting three initial pilot local authorities (Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Highland) to offer a different approach to reduce the attainment gap, challenge rural poverty and tackle inequalities in a non-stigmatising way. This will develop and test models of practice and delivery that can be shared across Scotland.
The first strand of the partnership involves Young Scot working with local authorities to deliver bespoke entitlements using the smart technology of the Young Scot National Entitlement Card (YSNEC) to overcome barriers to learning by improving health and wellbeing. This will minimise stigma: one young person can use their Young Scot NEC to access standard Young Scot discounts, whilst in addition to accessing these universal discounts, another young person can use their YSNEC to get an enhanced discount or localised free entitlement.
The second strand uses Young Scot’s existing platform of information, Rewards and discounts. This includes creating web and social media content with young people from each local authority to provide localised and targeted information. For example, co-created content which offers tips from young people in each of the local authorities about how you can look after your wellbeing. Young Scot are also working with partners to provide bespoke Rewards opportunities and experiences and are working to increase local discounts in the three authorities to put more money back into the pockets of young people.
Some examples of Local Authority work as part of the pilots include young people in Highland using their Young Scot NEC to access leisure facilities, after school and weekend meals at their local leisure centre, and to receive new sportswear or equipment. Using the Young Scot NEC allows young people to access services and products without stigma and can create long term healthy habits for the young people involved in the project.
In Renfrewshire young people have access to bus tickets which are loaded onto their Young Scot NEC, providing them with free travel to wider learning and volunteering activities they may have otherwise been unable to participate in. Removing this barrier allows young people to socialise with their peers and access new opportunities.
Finally, North Ayrshire have identified two pilot schools and are expanding free school meal entitlements to help young people access education with the best possible start to the day. By using the Young Scot NEC as a cashless catering card, young people can access breakfast and morning snacks in the same way as their peers who pay for their meals.
Whilst continuing to support phase one activity, we are in the preparatory stages of phase two of the project that will begin in March 2019 with three more Local Authorities. The project will continue to focus on tackling the poverty-related attainment gap, rural poverty and inequalities utilising the smart-tech of the YSNEC and wider Young Scot services, with the aim to empower young people across Scotland to reach their full potential.
For more information about the project, see the press release at youngscot.net/smart-tech-to-tackle-attainment and keep up to date by following #YSAttain on Twitter!